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Hampton mom shares heartbreaking story of losing daughter to overdose after U.S hits record in overdose deaths

Brooke Mitchell
Posted at 10:44 PM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 23:28:18-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - Drug overdose deaths are up locally and nationally. More than 107,000 Americans died of drug overdoses last year in the U.S.

In 2021, there were 570 people in Hampton Roads who died from a drug overdose - that number up from 2020.

News 3 reporter Leondra Head spoke with a Hampton mother who lost her daughter to a drug overdose, and she tells us she’s been advocating for more drug education to be taught in schools.

Diane Mitchell's daughter, 17-year-old Brooke Mitchell, was an honor roll student at Bethel High School.

"She was a huge swimmer. She was on the swim team. Unfortunately, that’s where she met the kids that turned her onto the drugs. It’s really funny because her grades did not drop. I mean, that’s the first sign - the grades drop. The friends where different," Diane said.

Diane says getting help for her teenage daughter was difficult. She says she tried to talk about it in the community but was met with resistance.

"Since I didn’t understand it, I called the high school guidance counselor at Bethel, and I was told that they didn’t have any issues with heroin in the school system. She didn’t know what I was talking about. And I said, ‘So you’re trying to tell me that my daughter, who has a 4.2 GPA, is your only heroin person in the school?’ 'Yes, ma'am.' I said, ‘You can’t give me any guidance on where I need to go to get help?’ She said, “No, ma'am,'" Diane recalled.

Brooke died, and she’s just one example of the heartbreaking problem.

In the state of Virginia, overdose deaths are the leading cause of deaths, with more than 2,500 deaths in 2021. That number is up significantly compared to gun violence-related deaths.

For Diane, she says her daughter met up with friends she had been trying to avoid. They brought drugs that turned out to be a combination of fentanyl, cocaine and molly. Tragically, the next time she saw her daughter was in the hospital.

"She said, ‘Mrs. Mitchell, you do realize your daughter is brain dead?' I didn’t even know what to say,'" she said.

Brooke had plans of going to college. Now, her mom is fighting to change laws and get support for the problem that’s killing so many.

"No parent should have to stand there and watch their child die," Mitchell said.

Related: Mom wants change after 16-year-old Ocean Lakes teen dies of fentanyl